We dropped into the inaugural New York preview for the sixth edition of MTV RE:DEFINE, an annual benefit & auction raising awareness for HIV & AIDS prevention. Socialize with the who’s-who of the art world!
It wasn’t 15 minutes after arriving at the preview for the MTV RE:DEFINE auction that I was talking to Richard Phillips, known for his large-scale glossy paintings and on-a-wire technique, about the need for beautiful art. Though I had expressed my own feelings on the role of capitalism and art, Phillips, whose “Anthropocene III” was hanging in the next room, noted that, “[Capitalism] allows a lot of new art to flourish, but also, people can be in [art] for the wrong reasons.” It felt like a tidy remark that defines the real meaning of being an artist today, your belief in the work and its power.
For the sixth edition of MTV RE:DEFINE, more than sixty works have been donated by artists around the world who arguably agree with Phillips’ consideration: the sales benefit the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, which works toward raising awareness for HIV/AIDs prevention. The benefit is hosted in partnership with Dallas Contemporary, a non-collecting space for new ideas to flourish and be seen in a constructive, low-pressure environment in Dallas’ Design District, and The Goss-Michael Foundation, one of the leading British art collections in the United States. Started by Kenny Goss and the late George Michael, the Goss-Michael Foundation has been working with MTV Staying Alive Foundation since 2011 to execute MTV RE:DEFINE.
Hosted at Great Jones Studio, the launch event allowed guests to view a selection of works in person, as well as an opportunity to place bids on the other works. Hosted by Ellie Rines, Andee Friedrich, Nicole Nadeau, and Arden Wohl, guests included Joyce Goss, RE:DEFINE Chair Maxine Trowbridge, Dallas Contemporary Director Peter Doroshenko, as well as Michael Avedon, Ben Bronfman, Lolita Cros, Chloe Wise, Heron Preston, and more.
On view was a very timely work by Enoc Perez in his classic technique of apply oil paint by transfer; offering a gritty look at a Trump building. Wendy White’s offering: A petit and slick abstraction that tended toward a liquidity; not easily achieved. Guests also viewed a Jay Miriam work in its muted elegance, controlled by its spatial reality – a broom closet.
Guests enjoyed a rarified mix of music from Paul Sevigny (including, at one point, a rock Christmas carol), as well as Fiol prosecco and cocktails from VDKA6100. A photobooth gave guests a chance to make their own art and Great Jones Studio was the perfect setting for this organic and fascinating opportunity to make real change in the world.
Visit Paddle8 to see the entire selection of available lots, everything from a Bernar Venet Arc piece, in all of its gravity-defying yet poetic heft, to Turner Prize winners Gilbert and George’s ‘Harrods’, a study of place and symbolic found art (the work is a series of postcards arranged in the symbol for urethra).
Other works include a scene by Eric Fischl (this year’s artist honoree), a drippy acrylic work by Ian Davenport, a photograph by Bruce Weber, and a Chris Cuffaro portrait of George Michael. The event even featured a preview from a short tribute film in which Tracey Emin speaks on her special relationship with the pop icon. The auction runs until March 24th, 2017, which is the night of benefit in Dallas. Tickets can be purchased here.
Photo: George Michael (1988) by Chris Cuffaro.